RFA Releases Issue Brief on Cyber Charter Schools

Research For Action, November 2013

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) is currently considering applications that could expand the number of cyber charter schools statewide by 40 percent. In the General Assembly, at least 12 proposals are pending on cyber charter authorization, funding or oversight.

To inform these discussions, RFA used the state’s recently-issued School Performance Profile (SPP) scores to examine the performance of 11 cyber charter schools for which complete data are available. We compared these scores to all public schools statewide (both traditional public schools and brick-and-mortar charters) and looked at student mobility rates using enrollment and demographic data from the five cyber charters with publicly-available data.

Our analysis found that the performance of the cyber charter sector lags behind both traditional public schools and brick-and-mortar charters in SPP scores. Additionally, mobility rates of cyber charter students are significantly higher than for brick-and-mortar charters in almost all cases.

While the small sample sizes for schools with complete data limit the reach of our analysis, this is an important step in understanding a fast-growing sector and the implications for education policy and practice in the Commonwealth.

Click here to read the full brief.

Chart from the report:
PA school performance profiles

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